The Ocean Race: Damage to Malizia’s mast

Published on March 1st, 2023

(March 1, 2023; Day 4) – Team Malizia will undertake a complicated and critical repair of their mast tomorrow. The team discovered damage to the spar this afternoon and worked with their technical team on a plan to affect a repair at sea.

According to the team, co-skipper Rosalin Kuiper climbed up the mast to take photos of the damage in order to assess the situation. The crack is 30 cm long and has ripped a vertical line in the top of the mast just above the first reef and where the fractional head sail would sit.

The technical team have discussed the issue with their external designers and engineers and have elaborated a plan for the mast repair. The repair involves preparing the area and then laminating large patches to the top of the mast to cover the ripped area. The repair should give the mast the same strength as before and allow the team to continue sailing with full use of all sails.

If the crew are not fully satisfied with the repair then they could still continue but with reduced sails. As the team needs many hours to do this they will wait until first light to start and continue under reduced sail until then.

This is not an easy repair to execute at sea, clipped on to the top of a 28 meter mast which will be swaying at huge degrees in the large Southern Ocean swell. The repair will take hours and will involve sanding the area, preparing the lamination and then laminating it. The team will be fully briefed by the tech team but the strength and endurance to do the repair in these conditions should not be underestimated. It should be clear by lunchtime tomorrow if it has been possible.

Boris Herrmann sent a video to the team saying, “We have discussed how to deal with it. So we are trying to repair it tomorrow then the water should be a little quieter. This is of course a strong setback for us but still we have to keep going. The sun’s rays are shining through the clouds as if they wanted to show us that maybe there is more to it than just winning or not winning!”

Yesterday, Team Malizia was down a headsail after its C0 sail came off the lock and fell into the water. The team was forced to cut it away to prevent damage to the foils and keel.

“Our downwind sail came off the hook and fell into the water,” said skipper Boris Hermmann. “Now, we are on a different downwind sail but this issue gave us a good hour of work and left us drifting backwards and losing maybe 20 nautical miles at least and a sail! However, everyone is safe and did a great job in sorting this out and no other damages as far as we know.”

Race detailsRouteTrackerTeamsContent from the boatsYouTube

IMOCA: Boat, Design, Skipper, Launch date
• Guyot Environnement – Team Europe (VPLP Verdier); Benjamin Dutreux (FRA)/Robert Stanjek (GER); September 1, 2015
• 11th Hour Racing Team (Guillaume Verdier); Charlie Enright (USA); August 24, 2021
• Holcim-PRB (Guillaume Verdier); Kevin Escoffier (FRA); May 8, 2022
• Team Malizia (VPLP); Boris Herrmann (GER); July 19, 2022
• Biotherm (Guillaume Verdier); Paul Meilhat (FRA); August 31 2022

The Ocean Race 2022-23 Race Schedule:
Alicante, Spain – Leg 1 (1900 nm) start: January 15, 2023
Cabo Verde – ETA: January 22; Leg 2 (4600 nm) start: January 25
Cape Town, South Africa – ETA: February 9; Leg 3 (12750 nm) start: February 26
Itajaí, Brazil – ETA: April 1; Leg 4 (5500 nm) start: April 23
Newport, RI, USA – ETA: May 10; Leg 5 (3500 nm) start: May 21
Aarhus, Denmark – ETA: May 30; Leg 6 (800 nm) start: June 8
Kiel, Germany (Fly-By) – June 9
The Hague, The Netherlands – ETA: June 11; Leg 7 (2200 nm) start: June 15
Genova, Italy – The Grand Finale – ETA: June 25, 2023; Final In-Port Race: July 1, 2023

The Ocean Race (formerly Volvo Ocean Race and Whitbread Round the World Race) was initially to be raced in two classes of boats: the high-performance, foiling, IMOCA 60 class and the one-design VO65 class which has been used for the last two editions of the race.

However, only the IMOCAs will be racing round the world while the VO65s will race in The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint which competes in Legs 1, 6, and 7 of The Ocean Race course.

Additionally, The Ocean Race also features the In-Port Series with races at seven of the course’s stopover cities around the world which allow local fans to get up close and personal to the teams as they battle it out around a short inshore course.

Although in-port races do not count towards a team’s overall points score, they do play an important part in the overall rankings as the In-Port Race Series standings are used to break any points ties that occur during the race around the world.

The 14th edition of The Ocean Race was originally planned for 2021-22 but was postponed one year due to the pandemic, with the first leg starting on January 15, 2023.

Source: The Ocean Race

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